Affordance and Conceptual Models

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Readings

Reading Critiques

Jonathan Albert 17:35:08 9/6/2017

Direct Manipulation: This paper spends a great deal of time cataloguing what direct manipulation interfaces are in addition to what they entail. The authors conclude by labeling directness as a path to be considered by a system designer, reminding readers that this is not the only path and that it is attendant with costs as well as benefits. The authors' comment that they "know of no really useful direct manipulation programming environments" was somewhat humorous to me, since I have found that this statement is still true.Beginner-friendly game design platforms are especially plagued by this limitation. Often their flow/event/object editors provide a simple interface for basic tasks, such as drawing a certain sprite at certain coordinates or moving according to an arrow key's input. Those editors give the facade of directness by adding functions to objects as soon as an icon representing that function is dragged onto the appropriate space. However, a gulf of execution is encountered when one object must reference or control something other than itself, or if it must perform many actions in a loop. To circumvent this, many engines just "punt" and expose a scripting backend which requires a quantum leap in user expertise--often via an interface disconnected from the friendlier, direct one. I have never seen an engine that meshes ease-of-use and utility without requiring cognitive context-switching. Considering the tradeoffs of directness could aid in the creation of an engine usable by "professional hobbyists"--those with enough knowledge to be frustrated by the limitations of the direct model and yet are intimidated by the knowledge required by the "conversational" programming interface. Such a tool could aid in the education of programming by providing an entertaining frontend to a problem space. At the same time, it should seek to blur but not ambiguate the path to virtuosity in the programming dimension, such that programming becomes a natural progression into productivity and specificity, instead of an intimidating wall of magic symbols haplessly used as a copy-paste destination. Today's engines would benefit from such considerations. Pointing to Pondering: This paper catalogues its authors' attempts in developing models to measure and enhance human-computer interaction. Particular attention was given to a user's mental model of a system, its degree of use in routine and complex tasks, and its relation to the intended, abstract model of the system. When the authors mentioned, in the context of developing a new program, encountering "idiosyncratic, exploratory users," I recalled a project at my workplace. We wanted to convert information from a more or less free-form employee assessment document to a structured, input-fields-based web form. The difficulty lay in how differently users would structure their responses--some would type a wall of text, some would manually double-space and align their text in lieu of using the word processor's functionality. While the conversion task was likely orthogonal to HCI (since I could manually account for special cases in this one-time operation), the patterns in the data confirm an idea laid out in this paper: users operate on their limited knowledge and seek to minimize the load on their own minds. Thus, an HCI system would benefit by considering user laziness--barring any obsessive-compulsive predilections. Several methods were discussed in various levels of detail (i.e., Model Human Processor, GOMS, Keystroke-Level, etc.). I think that the descriptions of these models and related examples and diagrams could have been moved to an appendix in the paper. Salient points in the introductory portions of the paper are somewhat buried in these technicalities. What is important to note is that humans tend to operate based on a limited "working set" of memory, that these operations can be effectively characterized by coarse models, and so on. How these models work is beneficial information for follow-up research, but its inclusion at the outset may cause readers to lose interest and fail to see whether these important ideas were viable or successfully expanded upon. Though it may seem self referential, I think the paper would have benefitted if the authors applied their own discoveries to the structure of their paper.

Jonathan Albert 20:12:47 9/7/2017

Psychology of Everyday Things: The chapter lists various complicated and difficult designs of common things like phones, doors, and watches. It stresses the need for considering the psychology behind an item's usage in order to help it succeed. The difficulties encountered by the author have only manifested themselves in worse ways in today's market. Smart watches and phones come with little or no analog features, reducing intuitive access for first-time users. Physical keyboards on phones have all but disappeared, leaving virtual typists to hunt-and-peck for their desired letters, squinting at keys to determine which one conceals the symbol for a hyphen instead of an underscore. These difficulties are ameliorated because "everyone" uses them; nevertheless, I still find it frustrating when I have to remember some key-chording combination for one OS that is possible in another by a dedicated key. Concepts in this reading could be put to use in the realms of VR.Currently,the most sophisticated setups allow for the use of handheld "wands" in addition to a head-mounted display. To avoid nausea, long-distance movement is often by teleporting to a location pointed at by one of the wands. However, I have never seen a sensible UI for extremely far away teleports. Valve's Steam VR has a somewhat intuitive, parabolically "falling" pointer with a large target indicator, but it restricts a user to short movements. Iris VR allows for arbitrary distance, but only provides a pixel-wide line from wand to destination. These systems could benefit from greater affordance. Cognetics: In focus here is the relationship between consciousness and unconsciousness as it relates to cognitive actions. Attention is given to the singularity of humans' ability to consciously consider things. he discussion of repetitive actions becoming unconsciously performed is relevant to many modern computer programs. In word processors, for instance, there are several ways to accomplish a certain task--such as pasting text. Several routes involve menus with icons or clickable text, and then there is Ctrl+V. For repetitive use, "power users" learn the shortcuts to increase their velocity and productivity, allowing them to focus on more abstract problems incumbent with composing a text document. The reading also spent a great deal of time contemplating varying degrees of philosophically-natured subjects while continually reminding readers that such discussions were nonessential to the book's contents. While I found such excursions entertaining, the preponderance of ancillary cogitating was distracting from the main "locus of attention" of the document--that humans have only one. Again, it seems the authors have failed to apply their own studies to their writing. While removal of these anecdotes might denude the document of character, it may improve comprehensibility if they were trimmed.

Ahmed Magooda 21:25:40 9/7/2017

The Psychology of Everyday Things. This chapter targets the different aspects of good design. A design can be good if it can be easily understandable by users, when almost every function can be mapped to a single controller without the need of illustration. A good design would also provide a feedback that can be easily interpreted by the user and at the same time highly correlated to the goal in mind and the controls invoked. The paper discusses what leads to a good design and what leads to poor one and what are the bases to consider while designing. I think the chapter is very well written in a simple way that makes it easy to understand. The author was successful in adding the sense of humour in his writing as well, which made the chapter very enjoyable to read. The author managed to provide many examples from the real life to illustrate his ideas and to demonstrate what a is a good design versus what is a poor one. I can say the paper would be beneficial in many design problems, for software ones as well. The only negative comment i would say about this chapter is that it could have been more dense. I think the author spent very long time to demonstrate few concepts that i think could have been demonstrated in fewer words. If the author did so, I think the chapter could have expanded across other concepts or things as well. ------------------------------------ Cognetics and the Locus of Attention This chapter discuss the properties of human brain, while discussing the difference between cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious and how processes can move from one to the other. The paper also discuss habits developments and how designers should take advantage of human tendency to develop habits and allow users to develop these habits smoothly. The paper also goes into multiple task execution and how all except one task must be automatic(habits) to avoid failure, and how designers should take these human aspects into consideration. This chapter talks about multiple behavioural aspects of human brain, and how these aspects can affect processing a specific task. While the author discusses these aspects he gave examples of how these aspects can affect the tasks but i would say he didn't provide solutions or recommendations on how to develop a system while taking these things into consideration, or examples of systems that treated or benefited from such aspects, I think the author need to provide some examples on this context. Again in this chapter i think the author could have proposed the same ideas with a summarized version while using the rest of the space to provide solutions or other interesting analysis. What i also think lacking here is some quantitative analysis, i think another way of giving weight to the done analysis is also by providing some experimental results that support these findings or claims.

Xiaoting Li 10:36:55 9/10/2017

1. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention: By demonstrating a variety of real-world examples, the author gives us explanations about concepts of consciousness, unconsciousness and how these two states are switched to each other. Besides, the author gives detailed description of the idea of locus of attention and shows readers how Canon Cat was designed taking locus of attention into consideration. The most impressive idea from this chapter is that the author points out that a user can at most focus on one entity when facing lots of objects at the same time and he also points out the importance of taking user’s habits into consideration when designing a system since ignoring them can lead to errors when users operate a system, and some maybe deadly. As the author mentions the importance of user’s habits in system design, it reminds me of how Microsoft users may have difficulties when they switch to Mac OS. In windows, users usually minimize, maximize or close a window by clicking the icons located at the top-left corner. However, in Mac OS, these icons are at the top-right corner, completely opposite to the ones in Microsoft Windows. It may take users long time to get used to this difference and users may make mistakes accidentally or have lower efficiency when using this new operating system. Simply taking user’s habits in consideration when designing a system is not enough. In addition, we need to concern that some user’s daily habit might bring some side effects since the author mentions that sometimes user’s bad habits can lead to drawback when using a system. 2. The Psychology of Everyday Things: In this chapter, the author concludes several principles that constitutes the psychology of how people interact with things by illustrating some detailed examples, including the design of a telephone system and the design of his own automobile. The principles include affordances, visibility, mapping and giving users feedback. The most important idea that I learn from this chapter is that good design is not equivalent with complex design. As long as we follow these principles, we can make simple design as good design and we can come up with good design even though we need to add more functions or features to a current design. When reading this chapter, a bad design comes to my mind. It is the stove we use every day. The positions of the controllers and the positions of the stoves don’t map with each other, which doesn’t follow the principle “mapping”. This kind of design can confuse users and takes users longer time to figure out how to use the stoves. If the designer can put each controller near the stove that it controls, it may follow the principle of “mapping” and give users better instructions on how to use the stoves.

Xingtian Dong 20:25:12 9/10/2017

1. Reading critique for “The humane interface – Chapter two: Cognetics and the Locus of attention” I think the book is useful to some extent. The author pointed out the limitation of the impact of ergonomics on interface design. Cognetics and the locus of attention are also very important to interface design. The author introduced two kinds of cognitics: cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious, and how they transfer to each other. Then the author brought out that the locus of attention is an important effect that makes the change. It is helpful for us to know how to attract users’ attention and why some warning messages are ignored by users. But I think it is not enough, the author only brought out the problem but doesn’t give a way to solve it. It is a dilemma either to make an operation more complex to avoid user from making mistakes or make an operation easier but more likely to make mistakes. Can we find an acceptable complexity of operation which is more user friendly and less likely for users to make mistakes. I think is also a good approach to change the color of part of the background of the warning message so that it will attract users’ attention to avoid users operate by habits. 2. Reading critique for “The psychology of everyday things – Chapter one: the psychopathology of everyday things” I think this book is very detailed and useful for today’s interface development. The author gave a lot of bad designs in the past and explained why they were bad and how to improve them. Some concepts like affordances, make things visible and mapping which the author brought out are extremely helpful. Even if a design has a lot of good functions, but the designer cannot show users how to use the functions in an easy way, it is still a failing design. The book gives me some enlightenment. As the competition in commerce becomes more intense. Designers are trying to put more functions and more advanced feature in one product, but it will also reduce the usability. But what if we can design a interface in a more visible and nature mapping way. It won’t reduce usability.

Kadie Clancy 12:06:11 9/11/2017

The Humane Interface: In this chapter of the Humane Interface, Raskin emphasizes the importance of using cognetics, the study of the applicable engineering scope of human mental abilities, when designing interface systems. The physical capabilities of humans have been well documented and these facts are readily used in designing systems that we physically interact with. However, as humans we are often ignorant to our mental limitations. Raskin introduces the ideas of the cognitive conscious, the cognitive unconscious, and the locus of attention to attempt to address this issue. The cognitive conscious refers to things you are currently aware of and actively thinking about, while the cognitive unconscious refers to things that you know and are in your memory but you are not actively thinking about. The locus of attention refers to a feature, object, or idea of the physical world about which you are intently and actively thinking about. Raskin examines the implications that these practical cognetics ideas have on user interaction with interfaces in a number of ways. For example, humans have the ability for habit formation, or turning a novel task into a cognitive unconscious task with repetition. Ideally, the interface component of a human’s cognitive load would be reduced to habituation, allowing the task that they are trying to accomplish be in their locus of attention. The implications of the singularity of the locus of attention are especially important to consider. Designers must be aware that humans may only actively focus on one event or task at a time, sometimes to the extent that they are oblivious to other stimuli when actively engaged with that task. Designers can support the singularity of the locus of attention, for example, by returning a user to the last applications open when they last used a device. This paper is important as it speaks to the necessity of designing systems that accommodate human cognitive capabilities. To support his claims, Raskin provides cases where human computer interaction not only failed, but proved fatal, when ignoring cognetics. Cognetics provides a framework to design for what Card and Moran refer to as the “task interface,” allowing human use of machines to complete intellectually complex tasks. Systems of this type will necessarily transition from ergonomics focused to cognetics focused design. Adopting practical portions of psychology is key to creating the next level of interface systems: ones that use human cognition to its advantage, while accounting for mental limitations. The Psychology of Everyday Things: This chapter of the Psychology of Everyday Things addresses the fact that simple everyday objects are often confusing and unintuitive to use. Well designed objects are easy to interpret and understand as they provide visible clues to their operation: there is no need for words, symbols, or trial and error. Bad design provides no clues or false clues. Norman presents several fundamental principles and guidelines of designing for people: provide a good conceptual model, make things visible, provide appropriate clues, and provide feedback. These principles are elaborated on in the context of both poorly and well designed objects. Visibility indicates the mapping between intended actions and actual operations. A lack of visibility makes devices difficult to operate, while too much visibility makes feature-laden devices intimidating. Affordances refer to the perceived and actual properties of the device that determine how an object should be used. Clues should be provided on how to operate things. Good conceptual models provide users guidance on how to interact with a system when we encounter a novel situation. Good mappings rely on a natural relationship between the controls and the things being controlled. For example, a single control for a single function is an ideal mapping that allows for good feedback. This paper is important as bad design is often overlooked and misuse is often blamed on human error or mechanical ineptitude. However, Norman illustrates the fact that bad design can be attributed to ignorance of experimental psychology and cognitive science. He provides numerous examples in the form of anecdotes and photos to illustrate the bad design present everywhere and the frustration it causes users. While the chapter deals with simple everyday objects, computer systems suffer from the same issues making the lessons learned here transferrable and applicable to modern system design. The paradox of technology often makes a designer’s job very difficult: technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but excess functionality lends to complicated use. What good is technology if it is too difficult to use to complete the intended task? This paper offers a general guide to creating systems of any type that are intuitive to human use.

Krithika Ganesh 13:02:16 9/11/2017

The psychopathology of everyday things: This chapter in the book focuses on how the everyday systems that we use lack visibility. The author provides different illustrations throughout the chapter to explain the fact that the fundamental principles of designing are to provide a good conceptual model and increase the visibility of the devices by implementing affordances, constraints, mapping and feedback in the interface of the system. What is striking is that the author stresses on the fact that most of us are not aware of the end to end functionality of the systems that we come across everyday which is so true even today. Most of our smart phone contains sensors like: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, heart rate monitor, finger print sensor etc; but most of us are unaware that we have so many sensors, and the ones that do, don’t really do much with the sensor data (unless one is researching on these sensor data). The author here prefers one to one mapping that is each control (say button) mapped to its functionality, but would this be a good idea in all systems? Take for example, the Iphone 6, the home button on pressing once takes us to the home screen, then on pressing twice shows us the current running apps and on pressing our finger gently on the button unlocks the phone. How would it be if we had 3 buttons on our Iphone for each functionality? It would destroy the elegance and creativity behind the idea, increase the weight of the phone and make the phone less compact to use. The book seems to have published in 1988, it amazes me how the author could foresee how the modern phone should look like. He mentions "Suppose all telephones had a small display screen…. The display could be used to present, upon the push of the button, a brief menu of all features of the telephone, one by one… The display could even be auditory…". So here the author had a vision of how to make a phone smart before the invention of smart phone, the Simon Personal Communicator which was created by IBM in 1992. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Cognetics and the locus of attention: In this chapter the author focusses on how to design the interface, not by looking at it from the system side like how the "The psychopathology of everyday things" did (concentrates more on increasing visibility of the system), but considering the complex and variable human side. The author explains how one should design an interface keeping in mind the concepts of cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious, uniqueness of locus of attention, habitual nature of humans, automatic tasks done unconsciously and resumption of interrupted work by providing various illustrations. The author mentions that the "Interfaces should be designed as though the user will be absorbed in her task…", is not a very good idea. If we keep the user's locus of attention in just one task, it may keep the user engaged for a while, and once she is done with her concentration span, she loses focus. Hence it is important to keep shifting the focus of attention for the user occasionally so that overall the user is productive. At the same time, like how the magicians took advantage of the singular locus of attention, while designing an interface we need to mask the background jobs and give user a pleasant experience by just keeping his attention on the foreground jobs Also the author states that the applications and web pages when they are opened should show the last viewed content. This may be useful if it the user get back to the task in a short duration, but I believe that it would not be that useful if the user get back after a long duration. Say, a user was searching for a mobile phone on amazon, then he finds out that Ebay is giving him a better deal so he purchases the phone from Ebay. Now after a month later he logs into amazon to watch a movie and his goal of watching the movie may be altered as he finds out that amazon had a better deal that day for that phone. What really interests me, is the execution of simultaneous tasks, we all try hard to multi-task (study and text on phone at the same time) but we should realize that we all have only one locus of attention and to multi-task we need to automate all the other tasks (that is do them out of habit unconsciously) which is difficult.

Tahereh Arabghalizi 16:44:41 9/11/2017

The psychology of everyday things – Chapter one: in the book the author explores the psychology of everyday objects and makes an argument for the importance of a user-cantered design philosophy (focusing on users’ needs). There are a few case studies about poor designs that indicate how difficult it is to design something well, and how important good design is to our lives. Although the author addresses the design of physical objects, his proposed principles can be applied to the design of web applications and interactive systems. Considering that the book was written in 1988, it is very surprising that how its principles can be applicable in today’s technologies and the author’s predictions about technology seem very precise. For example, he predicted the combination of computer and phone, a means that we use today as a smartphone! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems – Chapter two: The author studied cognitive engineering or "cognetics" and how this can be applicable to creating humane software. His main perspective is that computers should not be difficult to use in order to provide the needs of users. He explains that in order to design humane interfaces, it is necessary to be aware of what the human mind can and cannot do in most cases. He states that there is some knowledge that you know but are not aware of it. He also suggests that having more than one way to do things is more harmful than you expect because of paying attention to the method of doing the task instead of the task itself. He suggests that a humane interface with good design should work for both the beginners and the experts. He points out that people are only conscience of one things at a time, all our other behaviour is automatic and habitual. In overall, the author paints an image of an interaction between human and computers based on the principals of human cognition and the possibility of design. The principles of this book seem timeless that can be applicable to any system and any interface and the ideas of habit, locus of attention and modes are true no matter what technology they are being applied to.

Spencer Gray 17:22:43 9/11/2017

In the first paper, the Psychology of Everyday Things, the author focuses on how hard to use and poorly designed things are that we must interact with everyday. Norman looks at common things that we have become used to struggling with such as doors, washing machines, and telephones and asks the question: "why". Why are we struggling with things that should be extremely simple to use? While this chapter does not mention computer interfaces, it does anaylze the interfaces of other things. Thus, it is still an important paper to read and understand because computers have become everyday things that we must interact with. By understanding the faults of interface design in everday objects such as doors and telephones, it helps us discover what good and bad design techniques looks like. Similar to the paper from last week Pointing to Pondering, Norman stresses the importance of a conceptual model. If a user can develop an accurate conceptual model of what he or she is trying to interface with, then the user will be able to accomplish their task with ease. When it is too difficult to create a conceptual model of the system due to the poor design, a user will struggle and become frustrated. If I had a chance to redo this chapter, I would have applied Norman's concepts of visibility and conceptual models to computer interfaces. Since this book is more focused on psycology and was publisheed in 1988, I can understand why the author did not focus on computers. In the second paper, Cognetics and the Locus of Attention, the author defines and discusses the cognitive concious and cognitive unconcious. In addition, the author describes how the more unconcious our computer interactions become the better they will be because they distract less from our locus of attention. We can only have 1 object in our locus of attention. Everything else will be ignored. Similar to Psycology of Everyday Things, this paper focuses on the psycology more than designing interfaces. However, unlike Psycology of Everyday Things, this paper does show how the psycology can be applied successfully to computer interfaces with their example of the Canon Cat. The Canon Cat exploits the locus of attention and the face that it takes humans about 10 seconds to switch mental contexts. I found this application of psycology in interface design especially interesting. While it does not directly apply to my own research, this idea is vitally important in designing efficient interfaces. While some may see this as tricking or deceiving people, it actually benefits the user experience and should be seen as a positive. I like the idea of a system that deceives its users to be performing better than it actually does.

MuneebAlvi 17:56:37 9/11/2017

Critique of The Psychology of Everyday Things Summary: This reading attempts to introduce the principles of good product design. It focuses on aspects such as various conceptual models, mapping, constraints, and affordances This was a very interesting reading for me because there have been many times in my life where I choose not to use a device because it is too confusing to use or not as simple as an alternative. Most recently, this has been my Apple Watch. I have worn various watches every day since sixth grade but after getting an iPhone, I assumed the Apple Watch would be a great upgrade from my standard analog and digital watches. However, I soon realized that I was not using most of the functions on the watch because I did not want to put in the time required to learn all the features. In all fairness, I probably would not use all the features even if I did learn them, but the simplicity of my older watches was more appealing to me. However, I would not say that the design of the Apple Watch was bad in regards to this reading. The watch tried to use an analog to digital dial on the side to mimic the feel of analog watches. There was also a good mapping in the functionality of the watch. The dial on the side showed immediate changes on the screen so it was always easy to tell how my actions were affecting the features on the watch. Also, there were various methods of feedback from the watch including visually on the screen, physically from the haptic feedback, and audially through the beeps and dings of the watch. Therefore, even though the watch had many more features than my previous ones, it did try to minimize the complexity of the added features. However, I still prefer the simplicity and style of my analog watch. Another quick note about this article is that some of the complaints about product design such as telephones and refrigerators have actually been addressed since this reading was published. Phones now have screens which allow the user to see clearly what is happening and refrigerators also have screens or are designed in ways to be less confusing (at least in my experience). Critique of Cognetics and the Locus of Attention Summary: This reading describes cognitive conscious, cognitive unconscious, and the locus of attention. It also relates those concepts to interface design. The paper discusses how habits fall into the cognitive unconscious since we are not actively thinking about habits while we are performing them. It also gives the example that many times a user wants to delete a file (or perform other common tasks), the user typically follows through with the process regardless of the dialog boxes or messages they may see. This will happen if the user does the process enough times. This made me think of how Linux differs from the other operating systems as it does not ask any many questions to the user when performing tasks such as file deletion. Perhaps this is because they knew that users would go ahead with the process anyways regardless of the messages shown. Windows is also different than Linux and MacOS in terms of performing installations. Windows shows a dialog box asking users yes or no for installations but Mac and Linux both require the user to enter a password. Perhaps this is to break the users habit of unconsciously installing programs without thinking about the access that the programs will have once installed. The reading later discusses how the user’s attention can be manipulated such as the example where dealing cards can seem like it takes less time if the sound of shuffling cards is played. This reminds me of things like loot boxes in video games. When opening loot boxes, an attractive sound is usually played (like the sounds played at casinos) and this makes be wonder if the developers are trying to hide calculation or if they are simply trying to get the player more addicted. Its probably a little bit of both. Lastly, the reading mentions that a word processor should pick up right where the user left off. Modern versions of Microsoft Word have this capability and always remind you of your last location in the document when you open the document again which I find very helpful when writing unfinished drafts.

Sanchayan Sarkar 19:43:43 9/11/2017

Critique 1---> (THE PSYCHOLOGY OF EVERYDAY THINGS) In this chapter, the author lays out the psychological principles that underlies how a design effectively communicates with the user. It is largely centered around four factors: conceptual model, visibility, feedback and natural mapping. The author carefully illustrates that in order for a thing (system) to be perceived as usable, it needs to have a good conceptual model where the users can understand the effects of their actions. It also needs to be visible in terms of its’ functionality; the users must perceive the operations correctly. Further, it needs a strong natural mapping where the system uses the natural translations of the human mind in the design attributes. Finally, it must have a good feedback response where the users can perceive the effect of their action. I think these foundation pillars, mentioned in the chapter, are classical in nature which will remain the same even as the sophistication of things (systems) evolves. Therefore, this chapter is of enormous relevance in today’s world. It also introduces a rich vocabulary in understanding cognitive principles of a good design. One of the most likeable feature of this chapter is the way how it is highly illustrative and is extremely effective in communicating ideas to the reader. Whether it’s the example of the doorway in Boston hotel, Leitz Slide projector or the British Telecom, the author brings out a series of bad design examples to illustrate why they fail in the psychological principles of design. After that, he brings out a good design example. This way of presenting contrasting examples gives a solid understanding of the concepts. It also helps readers to be wary of real life situations where a design can go wrong. I could relate to the chapter in my area of interest: Computer Vision where there is Affordance segmentation where individual objects are judged based on their affordance in a scene description. What an object or a thing can do in useful in automated room planning or city planning algorithms. Even though it is a drastically different area, the principles of affordance remains the same. Another interesting aspect the author places is “The paradox of technology” which deals with the tradeoff between the increase of features and the complexity of design. A great example is MS Windows 8. For me, it had a ton load of features from its’ previous version but it did not have a “Start” button. Because of cultural standard, “Start” button was naturally mapped to operations of ‘Run’, ‘Shutdown’ and ‘Search’. To me and my colleagues, MS Windows 8 not exploiting this natural mapping was disappointing. However, Windows 10 have reversed the action which goes on to say that many others faced the same problem. This was 2015 and yet the vocabulary of this chapter is still relevant even though its’ examples have aged. This shows the importance of the given chapter. <------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> Critique 2 ( COGNETICS AND THE LOCUS OF ATTENTION) “Know yourself” says the ancient Indian Upanishads' texts. It was valid 3000 years ago and it’s valid even today. This chapter revolves around the understanding of the human mind and using the knowledge to suggest better interface designs. Just like ergonomics deals with the statistical variability of physical aspect of human beings, Cognetics account for the consciousness variability of humans. This chapter asserts that without an understanding of human limitations, designing a human computer interface would be futile. I like how the paper does a great job in creating a distinct vocabulary of an empirical cognitive model: cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious. It also states by the migration from one to another has a large implication for design. The chapter also lays out the relevance of locus of attention to human traits and how it can be both a hindrance and a boon. For example, if the formation of habits aid the task at hand, then an interface exploiting this trait will centre the locus of attention around the task rather than the method. Similarly, the trait of simultaneity within humans is important as the interface must allow the locus of attention to break simultaneity when it comes to critical operations that demands attention. This is quite relevant in web-browsers like Google Chrome with multiple windows. For example, we want to close a few windows and keep the others open. We start quickly closing the pages repeatedly. There can be a situation where we accidentally click on the browser ‘close’ button. However Chrome immediately prompts a confirmation message. This triggers our locus of attention from the simultaneity of repeated closings. Further on, the chapter dwells on how the singularity of this locus of attention can have large design implication. It is both a hindrance like in ‘Absorption Kill 101 people’ example or a boon where one can complete other non-interactive tasks without disturbing the user like in MS-Word where the editor does the job of saving the work without losing the text’s locus of attention. However, the paper does not delve much into the cognitive unconscious and how that can be exploited for interface design. Also, whether the formation of habits goes into the cognitive unconscious is not completely explained. Further, vocabulary used by the author doesn’t take into account the subconscious of the mind which would have been interesting. Yet, this brings out an interesting aspect of the chapter. Because it delves really deep into understanding and exploiting human traits for interface design, it presents a lot of possibilities for new psychological models to frame the human mind. The approach it laid out will be relevant even to other psychological models in accumulating other human traits and exploiting those for design. Finally, the variability of the human consciousness, like a meditative mind versus a less responsive mind, can also have an interesting interface design implication.

Mingzhi Yu 22:46:49 9/11/2017

POET: This is a very interesting book. It talked about how our mental model works in the things of everyday life. The author gives us a lot of examples such as an ill-design coffee pot, a complicated dial plate and door hardware. Those are all the small details that we probably will not pay attention to in our daily life. The author neatly brought out the discussion of the conceptual model by using the design of those little everyday things. Human cognition is very interesting that it can collect the information from the appearance of the object and make sense of it. We can easily make sense of the affordance of an object and gain information from its visible structure. If we think about the human cognition, one object does not even need to be complex to convey its affordance. Same to the design of the user interface, even though the functions and controls are complex, a good interface design is always clean, minimized and visually intuitive. This reminds me the design of the MacBook. The design of the Macbook keeps the principle of being minimized and this makes the use of it very easy, which is one of the reasons that it is so successful. The second article "The human interface" is also a discussion about the human being psychology and cognition. It talks about how the human cognition plays a role when we are acting. It is not surprising that human unconsciousness and simultaneousness are a very important part of our behavior. Because of this, when we design an interface, we should understand this human characteristic and think how we can fit this pattern into our design, which makes a successful design. Thinking about the touch-gesture feature of our iPad and iPhone, is it something that fits the human cognition pattern?

Amanda Crawford 23:32:29 9/11/2017

The Psychology of Everyday Things. The Design of Everyday Things. Chap 1. Norman. The Psychology of Everyday Things gives an in depth analysis of good and bad designs on commonly used equipment and technology. Norman's belief is that good design is built on a good conceptual model and the concept of visibility. He also states that " The human mind is exquisitely tailored to make sense of the world" and that humans rationalize poorly designed objects, even when they are proven to operate unintelligibly. Norman suggests that a designer should first build a conceptual model that is formed by affordances, constraints, and mappings. The conceptual model should be used when trying to communicate to the user in a natural way using relationships that affordances offer. Norman spends a great deal discussing the issues of a poorly design phone and washing machine. Although he provides several concepts to discriminate between good and bad design, his theories are not explicitly supported through research and evaluation. In addition, Norman elaborates on the concept that controls should have one action. It may not be suitable to define a physical device with a relatively large array of features each with an associated control mechanism. On the flip side, we can see that the application of using controls to represent actions and provide immediate feedback is a core concept in the design of multimedia interfaces. Overall, Norman's discussion on good and bad design contain bias that has not been explicitly proven by statistical analysis. However, his intuitive and personal perspective on designing technology to communicate with the user provides a cognitive assessment on the effects of good and bad designs . Cognetics and the Locus of Attention. The Humane Interface. Chap 2. Raskin. The Humane Interface provides a deep cognetic study of the mental interactivity process in which a user experiences while using an interface. Raskins approach on evaluating this phenomena takes a practical cognitive and research backed approach. In Chapter 2 of this book, Raskins defines consciousness and unconsciousness in a sense cognition. A user can either be in a unconscious, habitual and automated state. This state allows the user to use multiple learned and mastered tasks in a parallel fashion. A user in a conscious state can possess and truly focus on one locus of attention at a time. The conscious state also allows the user to learn and form new habits, both good and bad. Raskin then discusses how we should be careful in creating systems that teaches the users bad habits. In my opinion, this is a very critical message, as we seek to create systems that benefit the user, not disadvantaged them.

Charles Smith 23:48:58 9/11/2017

On: Cognetics and the Locus of Attention The author of this paper talked mainly about people’s conscious and unconscious behaviours. Relating to interfaces, this could be many things, including users habitually ignoring confirmation messages. The author argues that no interface should allow a user to make a permanent mistake, even if first faced with a warning message. Certain operations should be unavailable in situations where they should never be used, and reversible in others. While I believe this should be followed in most cases, some applications cannot follow this idea, such as a user sending a large document to a printer (an irreversible action). These cases do not have a solution proposed by the author. Another point the author makes is about how error messages will frustrate users, while not helping them correct the error. In the reading he uses an airline example about how a warning bell was ignored, because the crew was focused on the landing, so much so that the landing gear alarm was not helpful. This is a point I strongly agree with the author on. Users will ignore error messages trying to complete the task they are being warned about. On: The Physiology of Everyday Things The author of this article opens by describing how complicated everything has become, needing many instructions for their operations. He the continues on to talk about how to make things simpler for the average person. The author talks about vandalizing at a train station, and how it is changed by replacing the windows with plywood. These materials have different usages, so the vandals vandalize them differently. This is an interesting observation that is then used to describe other objects and how their usage affects other composite items. This is then also extended in the other direction with the freezer example. The two controls lead the users to believe that there are two compressors, while there is actually only one. In this situation, even explaining the operation of the device does not make its operation any less complicated.

Yuhuan Jiang 0:35:25 9/12/2017

== The Psychology of Everyday Things == This book chapter is an account for the design of everyday things using psychological terms. The most distinctive feature of this chapter is that it uses everyday object (doors of hotels, dial pads of telephones, seat adjustment controls of cars, etc.) to illustrate the key ideas of affordances, constraints and (natural) mappings. The chapter is important because the author accounted for the usability of everyday things with the following key concepts: - Affordance: the property that a thing is to be used. - Natural mapping: mappings that conform to physical analogies and cultural standards enable immediate understanding. The method the author used to argue is by examples. For example, when discussing the concept of affordance, the example of doors are used. By sampling having a horizontal bar on the door, people will not be confused about which way to open the door. Relation to today’s technologies: To some degree, the paper is harder to be related to nowadays, because designs today are drifting away from skeuomorphism and moving toward more abstract alternatives (at least for mobile phone and computer operating systems). The downside of the chapter is that the structure is not exactly clear. == Cognetics and the Locus of Attention == This book chapter is about the study of cognitive abilities (or cognetics) of human minds. The chapter opens by differentiating cognetics from ergonomics. The latter captures the physical abilities of humans, while the former is about mental and cognitive limitations. The author argues that cognetics should take the statistical nature of human variability into account just as ergonomics does. Due to limited studies of human cognition, the author proposes to empirically study the limits of what human mind can and cannot do. One significant term that this paper coins is locus of attention. This is a concept that takes into consideration both conscious and unconscious thoughts. The formation of habit is explained by a simple example of prompting users before deleting files. This is not helpful for the users to form a habitual response or to get comfortable with the response. To relate the paper to today’s technology, it is worth mentioning that systems nowadays are less likely to scare the user with “If you are sure you wish to delete …”. Rather, they will simply execute the user’s deletion request, and then provide an UNDO button at the top of the window where the notification alerts the user that the deletion is complete.

Ronian Zhang 4:17:32 9/12/2017

The psychology of everyday things: 1. Summary: the chapter1 of the book gives an intro of the book: a lot of things that we might be dealing with everyday suck for they are poorly designed and are highly unusable. The author also gives basic definition of “well-designed”, “principles of design”, “visibility”, “affordance”,”conceptual model”,”principle of mapping and design”. 2. Critiques: (1) skeleton: Carelman’s Coffeepot -> differences between well and poorly designed. The door story -> the principles of design: visibility. Projects and telephone systems -> incomprehensible design, visibility indicates mapping between actions and operations. Doors designs -> affordance. Everyday things -> the designer’s knowledge of the psychology is crucial. Convergent Bicycle -> the importance of visible relationships: affordances, constraints and mapping. Refrigerator -> the importance of a good conceptual model. Modern telephone -> inadequate attention to visibility, mapping should not be arbitrary. Car -> the importance of exploit natural mappings(relationships). Telephone systems -> poor design because of more features and less feedback. Watch -> adding complexity and decreasing reliability cause poor usability. (2)interpretation: The book dealing with everyday things. By using everyday examples, the author clearly states the point. And by giving both poor and good solution of the same problem, the author enhances his points. Even though published on 1988, the problems mention are still everywhere in our daily life and things are getting even worse. It seems that the added complexity and decreased reliability are causing more problems. The testing work of most of the current everyday products still focus on whether certain functions work, but not whether they are actually functioning (whether the user could actually use the functions with barely any training, whether they are natural mappings). Even though persuasive, I believe the chapter could be better organized. The author could using a single example(could be the telephone system example) to show all his logically consecutive points from the skeleton summarized above and using other examples to explain the consecutive chain points respectively in detail. In this way, the passage would give the reader a much better understanding. ————————————————————————————— The human interface: 1. Summary: the chapter2 of the book gives a basic introduction about cognitive engineering (cognetics) and the locus of attention: the differences between cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious (unconscious mental processes that one are not aware of when it’s happening) and the transfers between them, locus of attention (about what you are intently and actively thinking), and the application on human interface. 2. Critiques: (1) skeleton: problem scope -> the study of the problem help us design successful interfaces. Definition of cognitive conscious & unconscious. The name character example -> what’s the things that you are not aware of. A stimulus -> how unconscious transfer to conscious. An unexpected event -> how conscious transfer to unconscious. Conscious <- encounter something new or threatening, Unconscious <- reputation make it become nonbranching and automatic. When things fade into unconscious -> not the locus of attention. One entity, can’t control -> the locus. Habits <- repetition and practice, can’t undo by willpower. Simultaneous <- can’t consciously on 2 problems. File deletion -> if it’s fixed, it would be useless. Singularity <- unable to do multiple stimuli. -> essential to productivity. Single locus -> not always drawback -> ways to improve user experience. Resumption of interrupted -> keep the user where they have left. (2)interpretation: the chapter is very innovative: by learning the boundaries of conscious and unconscious of human mind, and the properties locus of attention, we could design better interface that works with human. The deletion of files problem is still unsolved during our daily computer using context. The resumption from interrupts is still a standard of measuring whether certain system (software) is user friendly and do what we actually want it to. The exploitation of single locus might not lose the scene of application: even though the pc is very fast, mobile device that has lower hardware may still use the dirty trick. There are so many long, poorly structured sentences, rare vocabularies (which I personally might never see again in my life) in the chapter and it makes non-native speaker hard to follow (very reader-unfriendly).

Ronian Zhang 4:19:14 9/12/2017

The psychology of everyday things: 1. Summary: the chapter1 of the book gives an intro of the book: a lot of things that we might be dealing with everyday suck for they are poorly designed and are highly unusable. The author also gives basic definition of “well-designed”, “principles of design”, “visibility”, “affordance”,”conceptual model”,”principle of mapping and design”. 2. Critiques: (1) skeleton: Carelman’s Coffeepot -> differences between well and poorly designed. The door story -> the principles of design: visibility. Projects and telephone systems -> incomprehensible design, visibility indicates mapping between actions and operations. Doors designs -> affordance. Everyday things -> the designer’s knowledge of the psychology is crucial. Convergent Bicycle -> the importance of visible relationships: affordances, constraints and mapping. Refrigerator -> the importance of a good conceptual model. Modern telephone -> inadequate attention to visibility, mapping should not be arbitrary. Car -> the importance of exploit natural mappings(relationships). Telephone systems -> poor design because of more features and less feedback. Watch -> adding complexity and decreasing reliability cause poor usability. (2)interpretation: The book dealing with everyday things. By using everyday examples, the author clearly states the point. And by giving both poor and good solution of the same problem, the author enhances his points. Even though published on 1988, the problems mention are still everywhere in our daily life and things are getting even worse. It seems that the added complexity and decreased reliability are causing more problems. The testing work of most of the current everyday products still focus on whether certain functions work, but not whether they are actually functioning (whether the user could actually use the functions with barely any training, whether they are natural mappings). Even though persuasive, I believe the chapter could be better organized. The author could using a single example(could be the telephone system example) to show all his logically consecutive points from the skeleton summarized above and using other examples to explain the consecutive chain points respectively in detail. In this way, the passage would give the reader a much better understanding. ————————————————————————————— The human interface: 1. Summary: the chapter2 of the book gives a basic introduction about cognitive engineering (cognetics) and the locus of attention: the differences between cognitive conscious and cognitive unconscious (unconscious mental processes that one are not aware of when it’s happening) and the transfers between them, locus of attention (about what you are intently and actively thinking), and the application on human interface. 2. Critiques: (1) skeleton: problem scope -> the study of the problem help us design successful interfaces. Definition of cognitive conscious & unconscious. The name character example -> what’s the things that you are not aware of. A stimulus -> how unconscious transfer to conscious. An unexpected event -> how conscious transfer to unconscious. Conscious <- encounter something new or threatening, Unconscious <- reputation make it become nonbranching and automatic. When things fade into unconscious -> not the locus of attention. One entity, can’t control -> the locus. Habits <- repetition and practice, can’t undo by willpower. Simultaneous <- can’t consciously on 2 problems. File deletion -> if it’s fixed, it would be useless. Singularity <- unable to do multiple stimuli. -> essential to productivity. Single locus -> not always drawback -> ways to improve user experience. Resumption of interrupted -> keep the user where they have left. (2)interpretation: the chapter is very innovative: by learning the boundaries of conscious and unconscious of human mind, and the properties locus of attention, we could design better interface that works with human. The deletion of files problem is still unsolved during our daily computer using context. The resumption from interrupts is still a standard of measuring whether certain system (software) is user friendly and do what we actually want it to. The exploitation of single locus might not lose the scene of application: even though the pc is very fast, mobile device that has lower hardware may still use the dirty trick. There are so many long, poorly structured sentences, rare vocabularies (which I personally might never see again in my life) in the chapter and it makes non-native speaker hard to follow (very reader-unfriendly).

Ruochen Liu 8:08:28 9/12/2017

1. The Psychology of Everyday Things: The author of this book briefly presents the idea that the everyday things should be proper conceived and designed to prevent users from error and misuse. In other words, a well-designed thing, no matter an ordinary thing or an interface, is able to guide the behaviors of users and reduce the chance of accidents and failures. There is a famous saying by Laocius in Chinese Philosophy: “Dadaozhijian”. It means “complex doctrine dwells in simple principles” or simply “the greatest is the simplest”. The thought behind this is interlinked with the author’s. In the author’s view, the best design is a design can be correctly used by anyone without pictures, labels and instructions. Based on the psychology of everyday things, a complex design can also be simple to the users. And the principles of design for understandability and usability can lead us the way to a good design. These two principles: “provide a good conceptual model” and “make things visible”, which I think are two of the most important parts of the book, give brief and accurate instructions to researchers and designers to get a good design or improve a current design. This book has a strong and close relation with today’s technologies, because it reveals the original theory of design. In my opinion, if the human-machine interface is like a bridge connecting human side and machine side, it should be solid and easy to use in both sides. 2. The Human Interface (Chapter Two): This chapter of the book mainly talks about cognetics and the locus of attention. The author proposes the idea that compared with seemingly complicated machine side in the human-machine interface, the human side is the more unpredictable and variable one. A concept named “locus of attention” is used to describe the properties of human performance and learning which have a direct influence on interface design. In the view of my point, this paper is important because it brings the idea about locus of attention into the design and evaluation of human-machine design. As we can see from the book, the author defines the locus of attention as a feature or an object in the real world or an idea about which a human being is intently thinking. In my opinion, in the human-machine interface field, the locus of attention is the main body of a human being’s attention when he or she interacts with a machine. In the design or the evaluation of human-machine interface, the locus of attention should be most important part in the human side to be put into consideration. This book is important because it helps eliminate the effects of unrelated factors and provides the human-machine interface researchers a brand new world to explore. It is a great way to take advantage of the invariant features of human, regardless of user’s age, gender, hobby and cultural background. Proper use of this theory can help design a more user-friendly even almost perfect interface. I believe the future exploitation of single locus of attention in the human–machine interface is promising and attractive.

Akhil Yendluri 8:10:28 9/12/2017

The Psychopathology of Everyday Things : The author tries to explain "what is a well-designed object"? How a well-designed object helps to easily understand its intended functionality. He compares the effects of what a good and bad design have on the behavior of the user. The author uses the terms visibility, natural design, affordance and mappings to explain that the object should convey the correct message and fulfill the task for which it is made for. Using everyday objects such as door and telephone the author gives perfect analogies of good and bad design. The author explains a good design in a more abstract format and his theory stands true even in this day and age. There are a few concepts or points that I feel could be better. The author tries to tell that every functionality should have its own button to make understanding simple. I would like to rebut that there need not be as many buttons as the functionalities. Current day devices provide hundreds of functionalities in a device as compact as our cell phone. Imagine putting all those buttons in it. A good software design is essential in this case. The author also explains most of his concepts in hardware design only. But all this can be applied while designing the software too. A well designed hardware with a bad software design also affects the performance of the product.
The Human Interface New directions for Designing Interactive Systems The author wants us to understand the ergonomics of the mind while trying to design the interface. He explains cognitive consciousness, unconsciousness, locus of attention and habit formation using simple examples to help us understand how the mind works. He explains locus of attention and the concept where a person can have only one locus of attention i.e., concentrate on only one thing. He explains that even when a person is multitasking there is only one task in his locus of attention while the other task is being performed involuntarily. This helps us better understand the psychology of the users mind and try to build a design interface which takes all of this into account. It's important that our design should develop into a habit.

Mehrnoosh Raoufi 8:29:46 9/12/2017

The Psychology of Everyday Things: The article introduced a new perspective that our daily errors as humans have root in the bad design of stuff we have created. It argues that if design considers the psychological principles it will be much easier for humans to use stuff without getting confused. Main principles that article discussed are visibility, affordance, mappings, and feedback. In short, visibility means to put the features available where human brain can detect it at a first glance instead of something that needs instruction. Affordances provide strong clues to the operations of things. The mapping between components should be easy to figure out. Feedback says the design should be in a way that it gives feedback to user's action. For example, if a button is pressed, the human should be noticed that action had really taken place. This article illustrated all concepts with daily and tangible examples so made it easy to understand the points. However, I think it might be better if some examples were shortened. It also covered almost all aspects of the main subject. Cognetics and the Locus of Attention: Author in this paper discuss how the cognitive conscious and unconscious part of the mind work and how it should be considered in user interface design. The article explained that in the cognitive conscious human brain can only perform a single action at a time while in the cognitive unconscious human brain can handle multiple actions. That's why we can do other things when we are walking, eating or breathing. The author suggested that interface design should exploit these features. Locus of attention is another topic that article covered. As It takes a human brain a period of time to change the focus of attention, the design may use this trait to reduce delay felt by the human. The article has revealed important point that I believe it is being used in today's technology. Most of the applications that we use take advantage of how our brain works in conscious and unconscious mode and how it switches between them. ‌